I’ve passed by Sophie’s a number of times, particularly as I like to frequent Champagne + Fromage just across the road. So finally, I was excited to try it out with YGO and Hannah W. Being a steak house, of course we opted for a range of steaks as well as a cocktail or two given the strong reputation of the bar. Sadly, both elements were a bit of a let down and the experience was only rescued by the discovery of one of the tastiest desserts ever – a pineapple carpaccio!
Actually, just thinking about it has made me a bit demotivated to write, so let’s keep it to the highlights. There isn’t anything bad, per se, about the steaks and they would be perfectly fine at a normal restaurant. However, when you claim to be a steakhouse you are immediately catapulted up into the company of the established greats (Hawksmoor/Goodman’s) and the tasty value places (Le Relais/Flat Iron). So either you provide one excellent piece of meat or you make the price so reasonable that I’ll forgive you some transgressions on the beef.
However, Sophie’s has the high price but not the skill at the grill that I’ve come to enjoy at the others. My bone-in ribeye (ordered rare) had just a thin line of pink in the middle and lacked that depth of flavour that makes ribeye such a wonderful cut. The accompanying sauce was also a bit flat which made each bite of steak more of a chore and less of an experience to be relished. If I was looking for a simple steak experience, I’d go to a more low-key place such as Le Bouchon Breton or make it myself at home! I do have to note the courgette fries are excellent and juicy so worth a punt.
Similarly the cocktails went horribly wrong. I started by asking the waiter for a Sazerac (not on the menu, but a classic every decent bartender should know). He returned a few minutes later saying he actually had no idea what it was I wanted. To be fair, the staff are fun and friendly and he offered to get the bartender if I wanted to discuss with him. I opted for that and the bartender seemed to know exactly what a Sazerac was, but what I got was a glass of over-diluted rye heavily flavoured with citrus – not a fan. I’ve heard the Old Fashioned is pretty good so perhaps worth just sticking to the menu here.
Finally, desserts were all pretty good from a delicious sticky toffee pudding to a decadent dark chocolate brownie with ice cream. However, the star of the show was definitely the pineapple carpaccio. Although it looked like they had just lazily placed a big slick of pineapple on a plate, we discovered that it was instead thin shavings of tender pineapple reformed into a circle shape. The pineapple is boiled in a mint inflused sugar syrup and you get a delicate texture, sweet taste, and just a hint of refreshing mint. By far the most moreish dessert I’ve had (and this is coming from a dedicated chocoholic!).
All in all, it’s an elegantly decorated place and great for catching up with a friend or perhaps a date. However, for steak, go up the street to Hawksmoor – the price is the same but the beef so much better!